JESUS OF NAZARETH REVIEWED
“Jesus of Nazareth” has to be my favorite presentation of Jesus on film. While created as a massive mini-series for American TV in 1977, Zeffirelli crafted a slightly longer version for Italian cinema around the same time. If you like two extra scenes of people talking during the Crucifixion, then that’s for you. What makes the movie for me is Robert Powell portraying Jesus as something approaching alien. Rarely blinking through at the film and seeming detached from the film, Powell moves freely around the movie helping where he can.
Supporting by stunning turns from Donald Pleasence, James Earl Jones, Ian McShane, Olivia Hussey and James Mason; “Jesus of Nazareth” might be the last great Biblical epic. It doesn’t hurt that it takes 6 hours and 24 minutes to tell the story, even though I still think an hour or so could’ve been lobbed off the presentation. The film hits the high notes of the Life of Jesus, while touching upon the necessary milestones. Yet, it keeps returning to Powell’s performance as the necessary anchor to keep you into the 6 hours of story. As I watch modern Religious exploitation films, I think back to Powell and Zeffirelli’s soft touch here.
You don’t have to slam an audience over the head while making a religious themed movie. The material will speak for itself, but there has to be something new to be said. Removing personal politics and the desire to appeal broadly, the audience gets treated to a film that dares to be different. Religion on film only thrives when it recognizes a set audience, but makes the effort to expand past said boundaries. No wonder, the 1970s were such a huge creative period for religious cinema.
- New Interviews with Actor Michael York and Best-Selling Author Jean-Pierre Isbouts
A/V QUALITY STATS
- 1080p transfer (1:33.1)
- DTS-HD 2.0 master audio track